Aristotle the Good Life

Topics: Virtue, Reason, Nicomachean Ethics Pages: 3 (957 words) Published: August 21, 2012
Aristotle's teaching of ethics primarily focuses on the good life, or more precisely, how one must go about to achieve the good life. In order to understand what the good life is, an examination of what is meant by 'the good' is necessary. We often say things such as "that is a good car, that is a good computer, that is a good phone, etc." But what is it that allows us to make the judgement whether something is good or bad? If we take a closer look, something is either good or bad based on its operation. When a thing has proper operation, its good and well being consists in that operation. For example, the purpose of a pen is to write, therefore a good pen writes. In contrast, if it did not write, it would be a bad pen. Livings things operate in accordance to their nature. Plants life exhibits the activity of growth, reproduction, and nutrition; it is the plants nature to carry out these things in order to be healthy and strong. On the contrary, an animal possesses more powers. It can sense knowledge of the external world through vision, hearing, touch, and smell. An animal also has the power of appetite, both concupiscible and irascible. Further, an animal has the power of locomotion, the ability to move around and explore its environment. So, it is not enough for an animal to just grow, reproduce, and eat. Thus, a good animal must sense well, be able to move around, and have an appetite. A man is much more complex than an animal or plant because man has the powers of intelligence and will. In order to be a good man, it is not enough to sense things well, run fast, eat the right foods, etc. A good man must live in accordance to his nature of intelligence and will. Thus, a good man is one who reasons and chooses well.

Aristotle argued that each individual acts towards an end, and that this end is happiness. This argument suggests that every men desires happiness, and that it can be achieved through the individuals actions. It is important to realize that one...
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